UK: Publishers Charging Five Times Paper Price for E-Books

Hm. I wonder if these people are Jewish?

The Guardian:

Librarians at UK universities say students’ reading lists for this term are being torn up because of publishers’ “eye-watering” increases to ebook prices, and some students are now reading what is available or affordable, rather than what their tutors think is best for their course.

With thousands of students studying in their bedrooms at home because of the pandemic, providing access to textbooks and research books online has become crucial. However, librarians say academic publishers are failing to offer electronic versions of many books, seen as critical to degree courses during the pandemic. And, they say, universities frequently cannot afford to buy the ebooks available, for which they can be charged more than five times as much as the printed version, often running into hundreds of pounds a copy, sometimes for one user at a time.

Nearly 3,000 librarians, academics and students have now signed an open letter calling for a public investigation into the “unaffordable, unsustainable and inaccessible” academic ebook market.

Johanna Anderson, subject librarian at the University of Gloucestershire and one of the authors of the letter, says: “Publishers are manipulating the market and price gouging from Covid. We are trying to support students during an unprecedented public health crisis and they are making it so much harder. It is a scandal.”

Examples librarians have given include an education textbook called An Integrated Play-based Curriculum for Young Children, published by Routledge, offered to libraries for £36.99 in print but for £480 for an ebook that can only be read by one student at a time. The cost to libraries for one business studies book, Fundamentals of Corporate Business, published by McGraw Hill, was £65.99 in print and £528 as a single user ebook.

It costs the companies more because they have to pay for each pixel. The pandemic has driven up the price of pixels.